Panicked  crook trades  misdemeanor for two felonies

Marcus Dewayne Sanders

A Lee County man sits in the Lee County Jail facing two felony charges instead of just a petit larceny charge because of social media.

On May 24, a lady in the Auburn community listed a window air conditioning unit on Facebook for $75.

Instead of buying the unit, Marcus Dewayne Sanders, 26, stole it.

“Our office was made aware of a burglary at the home where the air conditioner was taken,” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson. “The victim filed a report and then the victim, using social media, contacted me personally and the rest of the world about the stolen air conditioner. There were comments posted like ‘you don’t know who you’re messin’ with’ and ‘your day is coming.’”

Also on May 24, the Fulton Police Department reported a stolen white KIA and gave additional information to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department. On May 25, Lee County investigators were called to a fire at an abandoned residence on CR 931 where a vehicle was also burned up.

Back to social media — criminals use it too.

“We end up finding out the vehicle burned up at this abandoned house was the same vehicle that had been stolen in Fulton,” Johnson said. “We also had some video surveillance of the air conditioner theft which led us to connect that theft with the theft of the KIA.”

You guessed it.

“Under his own admission, because of the social media post he (Sanders) panicked and burned the car. He didn’t mean to set the house on fire but he was parked too close to it when he set the car on fire. Thank goodness the house was abandoned,” Johnson said.

Sanders was originally facing a misdemeanor petit larceny (air conditioner theft) with a bond of $400. He now faces felony arson first degree and felony arson third degree for a total bond of $25,400.

“I understand people’s frustration. I understand people think their case is the most important case the sheriff’s department has to work and I understand people think they know how a case should be handled,” Johnson said. “However, you can not imagine the turmoil and chaos it causes when this stuff gets on social media.”

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